There seems no area untouched by Artificial Intelligence (AI). An ancient saying, popular in the Orient, which runs into something like: there is no place the sun has not been to; should perhaps be modified to insert AI in place of the sun. Another poetic metaphor, which says that what Ravi (the Sun) has not seen, Kavi (poet) has, has more relevance to our world, if you substitute the poet with AI. But there is one crucial difference: AI scientists put imagination into action.
So, what is the future of AI? This question is perhaps as old as AI itself. Like all developments in all scientific fields, AI has had its share of admirers and detractors alike. To those amongst us who are witness to the most dramatic changes technology is bringing into our lives; AI has quite a few aces up its sleeves. Want to consider my optimism misplaced and over enthusiastic? I don’t mind, but see if these developments fire your imagination.
AI is going to substitute a good part of the work that humans have been created to. Like Google Assistant, for instance. The product that Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled in mid-2018 is a case in point. The version of Google Assistant he revealed may not in itself change our lives beyond imagination but is symbolic of the enormity of the possibilities it can create. When taken to its logical outcome, it can do things that we have only been imagining about machines till now.
The World Will Not Be What It Is Now
This innovation is just one of the umpteen changes AI can bring about. When combined with its partners in crime (joking) — machine learning, deep learning, data science, and Big Data — it can be lethal, but for the right reasons. What are the implications that the changes in AI will bring into this world, apart from the obvious economic ones, which will see the industry adding a trillion dollars a year until at least 2022?
- There could be widespread robotization. The implications of a development like this can be as social as well as economic
- There could be clarity on the data that Big Data throws, enabling Big Data scientists to make greater sense of the data they get and harnessing it for the better
- These are but a small sample of what to expect. It is already being predicted that areas as diverse as media to medicine and from law to designing could greatly get impacted by AI
- There will be greater pressure on governments to regulate this technology, as its interaction with humans and with other machines can cause either bountiful benefits or bring horrors, depending on how it is used.
Will This Year Be the Year of AI Shift?
Which of these changes are likely to come to fruition by the end of 2018? Google Assistant is a good case in point of a new paradigm having been set in motion. Not everything that is visualized (some of it may be off track by a mile) could happen this year, but technology grows over time. It is the cumulative benefits that add up to make what it finally becomes. Will this year be a watershed year for AI? We have to wait and see.